My French Scent Journey July 2023

My French Scent Journey July 2023

In the Northern summer of 2023 I had an exciting opportunity to travel to France to not only fulfil the longest held dream to visit the lavender fields of Provence but to commence my studies with the Grasse Institute of Perfumery.

I spent a week in the Provincial town of Forcalquier where the class was being held due to it's close proximity to Valensole and the Plateau where lavender, lavandin, clary sage, Immortelle, thyme & hyssop are grown & harvested in mid to late summer for the perfume, aromatherapy & skin care industry.

Our classroom was in a dedicated scent university - The Université Européenne des Senteurs et des Saveurs in a converted medieval convent - Couvent des Cordeliers. Not only does this beautiful ancient building house a state of the art University but a wonderful interactive scent museum - Artemisia.

Every day when arriving for class I counted my lucky stars that I was here, in Provence following my passion but also in such an incredible building & town!!!

My week long study bought me together with students from South Korea, Thailand, Columbia, UK, USA, Poland & the Czech Republic and our wonderful teacher Marianne.

We covered ALOT of subjects in the week - scent families, raw materials, extraction methods, accords, evaluation, formulation, to name but a few - with an emphasis on the plants grown in the region.

One of the highlights (apart from the 2hr 3 course lunch every day at a local bistro) was the field trip out to the Valensole Plateau & my first ever wander through the expanse of purple blooms as far as the eye can see - a moment that I'd been dreaming of for near on 20years! There were tears!

(See the first photo below for that moment and the joy on my face!)

We visited a local organic beekeeper - lavender honey so sweet and fragrant I was in heaven & an organic lavender farm where we watched the process of distillation from dried herb being packed into a 300kg still, using the steam distillation method to extract the 3kg of essential oil from the hydrosol - again a heavenly aromatic moment!

The farm also grew and harvested Immortelle (Helicrysm italicum) a Mediterranean everlasting flower which is wonderful in skin care preparations for inflammation, irritation and to soothe/restore mature, dry skin types (you can find it in our Moon Tide Face Balm), hyssop herb and olives for fruit & oil.

We finished the day driving through the fields back to Forcalquier with the warm, fragrant breeze in our hair and smiles of pure contentment on our faces.

As my week of study here came to an end ( I so wished that it continued for another week but that's for another year!) I felt an immense sense of achievement but most of all that I had such a fun, soul enriching time!

My time in Forcalquier may have come to an end but my visits to the lavender/lavandin fields had not with many more visits in the weeks that followed until my cup was full to overflowing but that's for another journal entry.

I'm so grateful that I was able to follow this dream, bring on the next chapter!

And am excited to share with you some of my creations inspired by this time in the weeks and months to come.


Christiana x


My first wander through the lavender fields of Provence,  after dreaming of this moment for many years!

Rows & rows of Lavandin on the Valensole Plateau.

Watching the lavender oil bubble up through the water, the smell was incredible, as you can imagine!

Lavender honeycomb. I bought a jar to bring home.

The view outside into the courtyard from our classroom.

In class & out in the gardens at Couvent des Cordeliers.

Organically grown hypericum solar infusing in the farms own olive oil.

The Artemisia scent Museum in Forcalquier.

The class room at The Université Européenne des Senteurs et des Saveurs in Forcalquier.

Bunches of dried lavender fin (Lavandula angustifolia) & lavandin (Lavandula Intermedia) - grown all over Provence, depending on the altitude.

Lavender grows best between 500 - 1700 metres & Lavandin 400 - 650 metres above sea level.

Lavandin can yield up to 3 x more essential oil than lavender, though quite different in scent profile and molecular structure we mainly use Lavender in our products for calm, sleep enhancing & relaxation purposes.

Find it in our Slumber Collection here.

& our Provincial inspired perfume here.

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